Farm to Fork Foodies!Nov 29, 2023 04:32PM ● By Seti Long
Teresa Campuzano (left) and Emily Peery (right) showcase the exotic kiwi, one of Gridley’s crops that is exported worldwide. Photo by Seti Long
GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) - An open invite was extended to the community and its children as Gridley Unified School District held its 2nd annual Farm to Fork the eve of November 16th.
It wasn’t actually a dinner, but educators and volunteers, many of them in the Ag industry, featured tasty recipes made from fruits and vegetables grown in our area that guests were encouraged to sample. From persimmon salsa to kiwi cupcakes, there was a variety of creative cuisine to taste.
Stephanie Taylor, mother and Wilson School Garden Projects team member, hands out samples of food grown in the school’s garden, including squash salad and fresh basil made into pesto. Daphne (center) and Dwight smile as they sample the organic goods. Photo by Seti Long
Mindi Tuft, representing Sycamore School’s booth says that each group was asked to “choose a fruit or vegetable that would be easily accessed by kids or parents, that you could make at home for kids to have a healthy snack.” Her booth partner Chris Schmidt added that they baked mashed carrot chips topped with parmesan cheese for an easy snack. It was also created from something recognizable to youth – carrots.
Each table shared interesting facts about the ag product they were highlighting, such as Teresa Campuzano running Gridley High School’s booth. She and co-volunteer Emily Peery chose kiwis as their focus, dishing out the sliced fruit and kiwi cupcakes. The ladies also educated that kiwis have more vitamin C than oranges and that California is the world’s largest producer of the fruit.
Amber Bozzo “Mrs. B” representing McKinley School and prunes, happens to be both an educator and a farmer. She was joined by her husband, Matt Bozzo who is a local, 4th generation prune farmer, to present no-bake prune cookies guests. Mrs. B said, “It’s important as a grower in this area that children know that food doesn’t come from the store, it is grown. We have so many crops here in the state of California and in Gridley alone, so I think it’s important that everyone, including children, knows where their food comes from.”
Mr. Bozzo added that “less than 2% of the population is involved in agriculture” here in the states and that most people don’t “realize what crops are grown right in their backyard. This a great way to educate them on the rice, the walnuts, the almonds here.” He shared more statistics on local crops and how our area’s ag products supply a majority of the west coast and nation, such as his family’s crop, prunes.
Other fruits and vegetables featured were persimmons, lemons, green tomatoes, basil, and squash. Maggie Doherty of Esperanza School shared that they chose “squash because we felt it was a versatile vegetable that was inexpensive and had a lot of health benefits.” She added, “I think this event is really important because it brings the community together and it showcases a different way of seeing vegetables and fruits that families may incorporate it more into their diet and eat healthier.”
If you missed out on this delectable evening, don’t despair. GUSD hasn’t ‘stuck a fork in it’. Hopes are for the Farm to Fork Dinner to return in 2024.